By Christiane Elssler. Fireplace. Published at Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 - 02:43:25 AM.
The way an electric fireplace insert works is quite simple. It involves placing an electric fireplace appliance into the center of the traditional fireplace. With the electronic variant now in place the ability for the traditional fireplace to emit heat is possible but it is no longer doing so by burning wood. While this is a very innovative method of using a fireplace but some may take a cynical look at the electric fireplace insert and say it is a bizarre concept because you already have a fireplace. Why would someone want to use an electric fireplace insert? There are a number of reasons.
The benefit to a ventless gas log fireplace outdoors is convenience and cost. The process of building proper ventilation and a chimney can often double the expense of custom fireplaces indoors or outside. Convenience is the ability to create a perfect flame pattern as easily as turning on a barbeque grill. Many gas log fireplaces have complex valve options that allow variable remote controls that alter flame height, on/off remotes, wall switches and thermostatic controllers that turn the fireplace on and off based on the temperature read at the thermostat. I do not recommend any of these valves in your backyard. A manual safety pilot kit has a standing pilot light that stays on always. As long as the pilot is burning, the fireplace can be controlled with a simple control knob. A couple of decorative ceramic pinecones or wood chunks hide the controls. Remotes, wall switches, thermostatic controls and other valves use batteries. Even a gas log fireplace that is under an overhang will be affected by moisture in the air. Here in Florida where humidity is tremendous, a battery operated valve will corrode within a year in most backyards.
This said however, in any wood burning fireplace it is vital to use the right kind of wood that is cut to a convenient size. Hardwoods such as oak or fruitwood are the best option as they give off the most heat. Softwoods such as birch give off a good heat but tend to be consumed pretty quickly, while pine contains a lot of spark forming resin that can spit all over your floor or rug. Ideally, logs should measure between 9 and 14 inches long although it doesn’t hurt to use a couple of larger logs on your fire to give it a bit of character. Only ever use seasoned wood in your fireplace. If you try to burn green wood the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn and you risk a buildup of creosote in your chimney which creates an imminent fire hazard. In addition by using well seasoned wood you will you get a much hotter fire; thus creating more heat for your home. It is worth bearing in mind that all wood for burning should be seasoned for a minimum of six months and stored under cover, so it is best to buy and stack firewood well in advance of the coldest months.
I have been in this situation many times and the answer is often gas logs. I have had clients with damage to their chimney flue inside a wall and believe they can put a gas log fireplace kit into their wood-burning fireplace instead of repairing the damaged flue. This is a mistake, and a dangerous mistake. Gas logs use liquid propane or natural gas instead of wood for fuel. When gas burns, oxygen is burned and carbon monoxide is created. If there is damage to the flue, a typical gas log fireplace is not the answer because the fresh air ventilation is still necessary to pull out carbon monoxide. The answer is ventless gas logs. Vent free gas logs do not have to be vented. When a client wants to design a custom outdoor fireplace but they do not want to build a chimney and cut through their patio roof, a vented gas log kit is the perfect solution because no ventilation is necessary.
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